Birds of a feather flock together

There are two types of partisanship, one is inside the house, while the other is outside; both play an integral role in the hijacking of our system

Partisanship in states is not a new thing, but has been happening since centuries and continues to play a major role even in developed countries. Sometimes a show is put up in the parliament, brotherhood is called upon to get exclusive votes which are rooted in the fear of disqualification by the party under 63A of our constitution. Another type of companionship can be observed in the selection of the chief justice, Army high commanders and heads of other major institutions. So it shows, there are two types of partisanship, one is inside the house, while the other is outside; both play an integral role in the hijacking of our system.

However, according to the constitution in all democratic states and in even Pakistan, in order to support restricted voting, there is Article 63A and for institutional partisans 242 A1. This exists in the oldest democracies of the world like America. However, trends are changing now, the former United States (US) president, Barack Obama wrote in his manifesto that he would provide a congenial atmosphere for the MP’s while voting, but unfortunately, he could not do much in this regard as he was in not the chairman of his party.

Similarly, in Britain, the prime minister uses the royal prerogative to select different heads of department to strengthen his party. These things occur in all states and are somehow allowed by the constitution for maintaining a balance among institutions. This has its pros and cons, which are supported and rejected in equal number. Why is this overlapping not allowed at a lower level? Why is not an MNA able to make appointments like the prime minister? The actual problem arises when there is an overlapping power in the form of partisanship, which is then delegated to small members of the lower house when they began to exercise it, and start interfering in other branches. This is a highly debatable issue and requires serious actions. As the recent debacle of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Zulfiqar Ali Khan, highlighted this issue when he called the Deputy Commissioner, Ghulam Saghir khan for the appointments and transfers of some patwaris etc.

In order to promote independent institutions in our state, there is a dire need to establish boundaries between executive and legislative duties of MNAs. Moreover, strict adherence to the public service commission’s rules is required, and if any MNA wants to change them, he can do so in the parliament by suggesting amendments in the constitution

This gives rise to a few questions, why is an MNA allowed to make such appointments? Does he know his duties? If he does not, then there is room for learning, but rather than learning, he went on to defend his actions by stating that he is a public representative and has the right to interfere. Moreover, he even said that the executive needs to follow his order as per the public mandate.

Well, this is another debatable point, can an elected MNA direct an executive to do what he orders outside the National Assembly?

Well this is another debatable point, whether an elected MNA can direct the executive to do what he ordered outside the house (NA) by using public mandate? Why is there so much interference in our system? The constitution demands that they participate in the legislative process by attending parliamentary sessions, and grants are also provided to them for work in their constituencies. However, they confuse their duties and start thinking that they do not need to readdress public demands and can solve issues they deem important by directly pressuring institutions.

In order to promote independent institutions in our state, there is a dire need to establish boundaries between executive and legislative duties of MNAs. Moreover, strict adherence to the public service commission’s rules is required, and if any MNA wants to change them, he can do so in the parliament by suggesting amendments in the constitution.

The writer is holds a degree in LLB from PULC

Published in Daily Times, September 11th 2018.